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No, I’m Not Kidding (Part One)

February 2, 2010

Alright so I’ve kept you on the edge of your seat long enough. ūüôā

Sorry, it’s been far too long. For the most part I didn’t say anything because I didn’t know what was happening myself.

I’ll try to explain as best I can.

I worked for BBDO Windsor, a division of BBDO Worldwide, part of the Omnicom Group. Our client, ¬†in the division of the company where I worked, was one of ¬†“the Detroit Three”. ¬†The contract with said client has been shaky for the last few years, and I guess this time around, talks broke off and the contract, for whatever reason, was not renewed. ¬†Lots of people lost¬†their¬†jobs, including me.

It was a relationship that goes back decades. And in that time, we became so entangled in the day to day business of our client, that untangling it is near impossible. But it had to be done. Transition had to occur. The work, the business of servicing this client with everything we do for them, that had to go somewhere. It doesn’t just stop, someone has to pick up the ball.

So the work of carving up our company began. Slowly the info leaked to us. Part of the work goes to this firm, and part of the work goes to that firm. So much to transition. I felt that at some point, my role would surely land within one of the new agencies.  I was hopeful.

I managed the¬†department¬†that was¬†responsible¬†for product information. Think of it as technical¬†editing. ¬†My team needed to stay on top of every little tiny detail of every vehicle in the client’s lineup. In turn, every single thing produced by the agency had to be reviewed by my team for accuracy. Yes, we also wrote the fine print. “Always fasten your seatbelt”, “Properly secure all cargo”, ¬†“Children under twelve should always be in a back seat.” I’ve broken it down to nothing here, but as you can imagine it’s much more involved than it sounds. It’s tedious boring work, and you only get to be any good at it after several years. I was blessed with a dedicated team that worked hard and was content to keep doing what they were doing. Not one had less than 7 years experience. I had been there for 12. We are all very good at what we do.

In my last post, I mentioned that there had been an exciting opportunity. Here it comes.

So valued was this work my team did, that the client decided it should not go to a new agency. No, this role would from now on be done in-house. They would hire three people. Three brand new positions within a company that just a few months ago was handing out incentives for people to leave. ¬†Three people. Never mind that I had a team of four recently forced to downsize from five. But all that aside, it was a heck of an¬†opportunity. And, not to brag, but I thought I was a shoe in. I mean seriously. I’ve been doing it for twelve years, and I managed the team. I have all the experience it would take to help them set up processes with their new partner agencies. Twelve years of trial and error to draw from, of knowing where all the efficiencies are and where the pitfalls may ¬†hide. Who better to slide right in and hit the ground running?

Someone with a University Degree. That’s who. ¬†Two decades ago I made a choice. ¬†I chose to go to college instead of University. (I’m not sure how to explain the difference to my American readers) That choice has come back to haunt me ¬†once again. ¬†It seems the minimum requirement, or so I was told, was a degree of some type. Didn’t matter in what, there is no degree for what I do, just a degree, any one will do just fine.

That’s why my blood was boiling when I wrote the last post.

I’ll tell you the rest of the story¬†tomorrow.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrew permalink
    February 3, 2010 9:08 am

    Wow. That is some serious short-sightedness. I mean, wow.

  2. February 3, 2010 10:03 am

    My blood would be boiling too. At some point we have to come up with an equivalency system where work experience matches or trumps a university degree, particularly in areas where there is no actual degree program for that field and expertise can be easily proven.

    In my working life I was always in competition with co-workers who had more than one degree (I do not). I had proven ability and was fortunate enough to have my bosses recognize this and promote me several times based on that. The degree holders would always file complaints with Human Resources, as if education should always trump output. But when it’s not Engineering or Medicine, what the hell does it matter? The proof is in the work, not the resume.

    I know this has got to be very hard for you but I remain very hopeful that something better is around the corner. You’ve obviously got what it takes and deserve your talents used and appreciated.

  3. February 3, 2010 8:10 pm

    Grrrrr !!!
    Part 2 had better be good, I can feel the heat rising inside…..

  4. February 10, 2010 12:15 am

    That seems crazy, even though I know this sort of thing happens all the time. My previous husband was brilliant at what he did but was constantly passed over in favor of others for promotion because he had no degree. Oftentimes, the people he promoted would need his help and caused problems from incompetence. Still, he had no degree. It was very frustrating. He ended up getting into real estate and doing very well because success is completely performance based. So sorry, O

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